Meditation has been scientifically proven to be advantageous to an overall sense of well-being and if you’d like to really explore how you might bring meditation into your life, and why you might want to do that, this book is a good start.
The key to the approach to mediation outlined in the book is on “using one’s breath to maintain mindfulness”.
And in case you’re wondering if it’s possible to spend all your day practicing mindfulness, Thich Nhat Hanh says “yes”, and it’s a lot more practical than it might sound at first.
Thich Nhat Hanh defines mindfulness as “keeping one’s consciousness alive to the present reality.”
He clarifies that “During the moment one is consulting, resolving, and dealing with whatever arises, a calm heart and self-control are necessary if one is to obtain good results.”
In other words, we need to be mindfully aware of what we are doing and not just doing things on auto-pilot to achieve our best results.
Thich Nhat Hanh says “Every day and every hour, one should practice mindfulness.” He also admits that “It is only in an active and demanding situation that mindfulness really becomes a challenge.”
However, isn’t that the reality for most of us, that we are almost always in active and demanding situations? The Miracle of Mindfulness will challenge your thinking on that too.
As a practical ‘how to’ guide to meditation, this is a short and direct introduction with specific exercises to complete.
Thich Nhat Hanh says “To master our breath is to be in control of our bodies and minds.”
One of the most powerful and practical and I would say inescapable truths in the book is this “If you want to know your own mind, there is only one way: to observe and recognize everything about it.”
“We are both the mind and the observer of the mind” and the practice of meditation helps us, through connecting with our breathing, to recognise the flow of thoughts and feelings for just what they are… thoughts and feelings. And as Thich Nhat Hanh points out “Once you have reached such an awareness, there will be nothing you need fear anymore.”
As a personal disclaimer, because it is my truth, it is still early days for me on my journey of discovering the power and peace that can be gained through meditation. My lack of flexibility, and worn out marathon knees and hips won’t allow me (at this stage) to get even into a half lotus position, little lone the full lotus position (recommended in the book). However, my morning yoga routine which starts with mindful connection of the breath while laying on my back (also recommended for beginners) and finishing in the Japanese manner of knees bent, resting on my two legs – which at first was just painful and now, slowly I am increasingly able to just sit in that position and breath.
I don’t think The Miracle of Mindfulness will be everyone’s cup of tea, in fact I think it will only resonate with those who are already on the path of wanting to know more about the power and peace of mindfulness and meditation.